100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience (2012) Movie Script

Taito was founded 60 years ago.
We started as an import goods company.
We would bring in items from
overseas like Pinball Games.
Our president then decided that arcades
seemed to be working well in America,
and that they would suit
Japan equally well.
We created our first arcade store
and it was a success.
That made us say, why don't we
start making our own games?
Space Invaders was born.
The programmer and Director
of the game was Nishikado.
In a standard arcade there
were Space Invader cabinets
and various other games,
usually around fifty
to one hundred games
throughout the arcade.
but customers really only
wanted to play Space Invaders
and the other games
were only taking up space
so we decided to make arcades
with only Space Invader cabinets
these became known as Invader Houses.
it turned out to be a great idea.
A game of Space Invaders cost
a single 100 yen coin per play
and customers would pump
their coins into the machines
spending hundreds of coins
per person, every day.
It became such an epidemic that Japan
actually ran out of 100 yen coins.
Historical records show that
while the banks did their best to keep up
they couldn't print coins fast enough
causing this incredible shortage.
Of course shooting games
are my first love.
Instead of a human
running around with a gun,
we have these futuristic
space ships shooting aliens.
That idea alone was so new
and such a romantic concept.
Of course Space Invaders is one of
the most recognized Japanese games.
but when you mention the word game
to someone who grew up at the time,
they immediately think of a space ship
moving across the x and y axis'
and shooting bullets.
Hi, I'm the owner of Game-Inn Ebisen.
Ebihara-san aka The Shrimp Boss.
This isn't your standard
Japanese Arcade,
we don't have modern
mainstream games,
it's more of a retro arcade
we focus more on the retro games.
I also provide a service
where you choose the game
you would like to play
and i'll swap it out in the machine.
At my arcade, vertical and
side scrolling shooting games
are the most popular, other than those...
maybe just Tetris.
Basically the people who play here,
I'd say about 90 percent...
90 percent of my customers
are hardcore...
Hardcore gamers.
My alias is Clover-TAC
I pretty much just play
shooting games.
The idea behind shooting games,
which of course was born
from Space Invaders,
are based on a concept
that is easy to understand
anyone who is watching can see
you shoot bullets to hit your enemies
and then at the same time
if you are hit by a bullet
you explode, ending the game.
These rules haven't changed
since shooting games' inception.
It is these simple rules
and ease of comprehension
that have kept these games popular
for so many years.
'That's good enough'
doesn't exist in these guys' vocabulary
down to the last detail,
they keep fighting.
Of course I feel a lot
of pressure to succeed
but once the game starts
the nerves disappear.
Not only that
but you can only reach your
peak performance from experience,
it's similar to a test you've
been studying for in school
you can't suddenly start playing
these games and be amazing.
It just won't happen like that,
you need to work up your skill level
to become good at these games.
Lately, you know...
How do you say...
the best shooting game players
don't necessarily have
insane reactionary reflexes
instead it's more about
logical thinking and strategy
that's more the norm now,
more the focus.
Find your strategy and
keep building and
building and building on that foundation.
After all that, you can't just wait
for a perfect score to arrive
you have to want it
and push for it to happen.
It is this type of mindset
that these players all maintain
especially someone like Clover-TAC.
Of course...
Of course I remember the first time
Clover-TAC came to Ebi-sen.
Naru-kun, a top player...
A really good shooting game player
who frequents this arcade...
He was the one who
brought Clover-TAC along
and right from the beginning
I could see...
this guy was really good.
Ahh... this guy... there's
something different about this guy.
I believe the first time that I had
one of my high scores published
was a score from a game
called ESP Ra. De.
My scores now, at least compared
to my first published high score,
while I've gotten much higher scores since,
that first published score is the one
that i'm the most proud of.
The one that I remember the most fondly.
Most recently my best score
is from the game "Akai Katana"
about 430,000,000 points.
When thinking about arcade games
and their design
you must consider that you
put in your 100 yen coin
the game begins and
the arcade gets its profit.
So the user is paying for
a chance to enjoy a game.
Paying for time.
They get X amount of gameplay minutes.
So with that in mind, one game
should be able to be completed
within about 30 minutes.
One other thing is, for the person
who deposited their 100 yen coin
in simple terms, there needs
to be some kind of satisfaction
within the first one to
three minutes of gameplay.
For this reason, RPG style
adventure games with long stories
where you work towards
getting to the final boss
and numerous events take place in between,
this style of game just doesn't work,
it's N.G. (no good).
Within the first three minutes...
At about the three minute mark
the player needs to understand
this is how the gameplay works,
these are the game's mechanics.
So the game needs to have
a sudden and exciting climax
and then from there, once
the player has reached this climax,
if they are like "I'm done,
I get it, I'm finished playing".
The game has failed.
"I want to do that again!"
Even though they've experienced the climax
they should want to get to that climax again
without feeling they've
experienced the entire game.
There's still so much more to do!
These principles must be present
for an arcade game
to be successful.
It is these principles we consider
when designing a game.
Up until now, arcade games
had always been a business model
that in an interesting way,
has been about purchasing time.
We'll take your 100 yen and
give you three minutes of entertainment
and that was our hobby at the time.
But then this is where
things started to shift.
You and the person beside you
each pay 100 yen to fight
if you lose we take your money!
That's frustrating isn't it?
Better out in some more money.
Until now this type of hobby didn't exist.
Once you tried it,
you realized how fun it was.
This new game-type caused
arcade business to surge.
So when you look at Street Fighter 2
in the grand scheme of arcade game history.
Fighting games would be
like the proverbial meteor
that wiped out the dinosaurs.
Street Fighter 2 would act as
the catalyst that would overthrow
my favorite genre: shooting games
as the number one draw to arcades...
This would represent the first major
paradigm shift for arcades.
The reason I like fighting games,
is it's such a fresh concept.
it's not simply a physical challenge,
the mental aspects
known as Yomi, which involves
"reading" your opponent
didn't exist in games before this.
I thought, hmm... This is
a thinking mans game
and that's what really
attracted me to fighting games.
That and I thought if I could
make some friends when
playing these games, it would
become even more interesting.
Basically, if you think about Fighting Games
as a communication tool
you won't be far off.
I've been playing games for so long...
I don't know if you can call it
a hobby anymore.
The first time I played games
was at a video rental store.
It was there, when I went
with my sister to rent a movie
that I had my first experience
with arcade games.
From the age of fourteen until twenty...
About twenty-two, I was playing
pretty much non-stop.
From twenty-three through to
twenty-seven, I ddin't really play much.
With the release of Street Fighter 4
I returned to playing very frequently.
In 2D fighting games, without a doubt
the best player is Daigo Umehara,
He has a long storied career
in fighting games
and has travelled overseas
for many tournaments.
How can I say...
He has one of the best records
in fighting games
and is universally considered one of
the best players in the world.
Without a doubt, for 2D fighters
Umehara is the best.
The social interaction
between two people
is what this is really all about.
It's not about the
Artificial Intelligence of a computer
I think that's the most interesting
aspect of fighting games.
It's hard to say for sure
what makes me a good player
but I'm sure it has something
to do with an innate understanding
of these types of games
since I was very young.
That's really the sense of a pro gamer.
That being said, natural ability
only gets you so far...
It all comes down to playing these games
and putting in the time,
the repetition, the practice...
That's where I feel professional
level skill comes from.
In one month... When I was younger,
at the arcade...
I'd spend about $600 a month.
When I was playing the most,
in one week,
I would go to an arcade... Everday.
When I was younger I
would get really nervous,
my hands would shake from nerves
and it would really affect my gameplay.
But by the time I turned
about... Seventeen...
Once I was around that age
I really didn't get nervous.
Even in big tournaments,
I could perform fairly well.
Now in tournaments or whenever,
I'm really not nervous at all.
Right. If I watch a tape
of myself playing a match,
sometimes if I watch my...
When I'm playing if you watch my face,
people often comment that I look scary.
Why is that?
When I was a kid,
I didn't really show my emotions...
I was the type of kid who
doesn't show their emotions.
So I guess that just kind of
carried over into my playstyle as well.
Daigo Umehara is well...
He's not necessarily better
than others at these games,
he's better at working hard,
to become the best.
It's that quality that makes Umehara
a unique and strong player.
To become a skilled player,
practicing at the arcades is your best bet.
The reason I say this
is the fact that each game in
an arcade costs you real money.
Because of this,
you treat the game differently,
you consider things more,
you try harder.
Whereas with console games for example,
you can lose and it doesn't really matter,
you don't really care, I think.
You won't see that type
of mindset in an arcade,
people take it a lot more seriously.
For those reasons
practicing in an arcade
is more serious as well.
Japanese homes are very small.
So you can't make noise or
party without getting complaints.
It's much more common for
friends to meet up at arcades
where you can let loose and have fun.
Japanese arcades are loud,
but I mean that in a good way
loud and exciting.
The people that I hang out with,
they of course love to play games,
but mostly come to arcades
to be with their friends.
There's regular groups of people
who all come to the arcades,
which gives them a chance
to meet up more often
and I think that's true for
most people who frequent
the arcades in Japan.
I imagine that, that is
one of the main differences
between Japan's and
foreign countries' arcades.
When I was working at an arcade,
well, at that time...
arcade friends... What I mean to say is...
Friends I made by playing games
together at arcades,
are people that you become very close with.
And... Well... Actually...
I married my best friend that I met there.
The arcades that I've seen the most of,
the ones with a serious
fighting game atmosphere...
They really serve many different purposes.
For example, they are a place to meet friends
and play together, a social place.
They are also a place to
find stronger players regularly
and try to beat them to improve your game.
Not only that, but they hold lots of events
and if I want to practice,
it facilitates that as well.
There are just so many
different purposes to these arcades.
To put it simply, if you like attending
events and want to socialize,
to make new friends...
Or more specifically what we call...
Fighting game friends,
your training partner for these games
then it's really all about
connecting with other players.
That's the kind of atmosphere
you can expect in an arcade.
It can be a fairly hardcore atmosphere...
Around things like
UFO catchers or easier games,
maybe not so much...
Around fighting games,
and other challenging games,
at least around me, it's definitely
a more hardcore atmosphere.
A little more serious I think.
I work for Sega as a sound designer.
My name is Hiro.
I'm in charge of creating the
music for various arcade games,
Most of the titles I'm known for came out
about 20 years ago.
Games like Hang On and Out Run
or Afterburner and Space Harrier.
But anyways...
Large cabinet games that you
sit in which move as you play,
these types of games were
the ones I made the music for.
Recently a new genre of game has come out.
Until now, arcades were mostly
fighting games or driving games,
but now there is a new genre
that is popular in arcades.
With music being the main
gameplay element for the genre,
it creates a whole new aspect to gaming...
A fresh and exciting take
on the arcade experience.
My real name is Tomoyuki Mori,
my gaming alias is Akudaikan.
The game I'm playing most now is DDR
That and more recently
a game called Horse Riders.
That's what I'm enjoying
currently in the arcade.
At the time... I didn't know anything
about DDR, but had seen
a game called Beatmania
which was really taking off.
When I tried it for the
first time I was like...
Ahh this is pretty interesting!
But my friend was like, just wait
until you see this other game
and that other game
turned out to be DDR.
Rather than using your fingers,
this game is all about feet,
and I thought... Oh this is great!
That's when I decided
that this was the game for me.
The first time that I got
to try music games was
when I went to the
Tokyo Game Show in 1999.
The console version of DDR
has just been released,
so I got a chance to try that out,
and when I did
I realized how fun and
new this experience was.
That's how this all began.
By now there have been
tons of versions of DDR released
on Xbox and Playstation, however,
when you think about
the situation in Japan...
It's really difficult to invite
people over to your residence
and replicate this kind of experience.
It's just completely different
playing these games
at home versus in the arcade.
If you want to play in front of a crowd
you head to the arcades.
If you keep going to
the same arcade to play these games
and continually play with
the same group of people,
you can't help but become
close friends with everyone there.
It was this way that I made a ton of friends
and got heavily involved with the community.
It was a great experience.
The same can be said for almost anything.
In Japanese we say "koriyakuho" which means,
for example, if you're attempting
to get a marvelous [the best score]
there is no instruction manual
which tells you exactly
how to hit each note at the
exact "marvelous" timing.
Depending on the song,
the timing for a marvelous
will usually be slightly different.
Actually, there will usually
be at least one "feint"
where the marvelous timing
will be just slightly off
in an attempt to confuse
even the best players.
Having said all that, there is
no way to learn these things
except for trying it out yourself.
After that, it's all repetition and practice,
until it becomes second nature
or muscle memory.
I'm not sure about others,
but I think that DDR
is similar to sports,
such as Skiing or Badminton,
in the sense that you
can continue doing them
even as you get older.
Even in America
we saw DDR appear
in schools to help combat child obesity.
While I am fourty-four years old
I know people who are
over fifty who are playing DDR.
There is also a well known couple
in Japan who play DDR
and I believe the husband
is over seventy years old.
That couple uses DDR regularly
as an exercise tool.
It's the fact that you need
to use your legs
and really your whole body
when playing DDR...
In terms of a sport or activity
DDR is an excellent
exercise tool in my opinion.
When chasing highscores in DDR,
of course you'll compete a
gainst many different players
and have some great battles,
while developing friendly rivalries
but the truth is, even though
I've been trying to get highscores
for quite a while, I've made lots
of good friends along the way.
The reason I play these games now
is less about getting a highscore
and more about making friends.
The environment of the arcade is one where
background music is constantly playing.
With so many games strewn throughout
this creates a major noise pollution problem.
From the inception of arcades
this has been a major issue
and the kind of devices
that would solve these problems
would be small speakers
placed near the ears of the player
or directional speakers built
into arcade cabinets
allowing only you to hear
the sounds from the machine.
When trying to not overly pollute
the arcade with noise,
it is critical to decide when a game
should or should not emit
sound effects or music
if all the games were constantly
throwing out sounds
no one would know what to listen to.
Deciding to play a sound
or not to play a sound
and either loudly
or softly
is the designers best tool
for shaping the users experience.
The quality of service is the
main concern for arcades in Japan.
With arcades covering the country
they are always trying to appeal to passerby
- "Hey, you look a little low,
why not play a few games?" -
always reaching out to potential customers...
...it is this spirit built
on a service culture
that enables all of the small
mom & pop arcades to survive.
In America, if you go to an arcade,
the owner is probably just
standing in some corner
saying "yeah, sure...
play some games or something... "
In Japan, the employees
don't make any extra money
but their desire to provide excellent service
will have them asking
"How is everything? Are you having fun?"
This Japanese cultural difference
makes arcades more about
customer satisfaction and less about money.
While I was working at the arcade,
it was always a lot of fun.
Being able to watch games while at work
is the best.
We would always get customers coming in
who genuinely love games
and we would really hit it off.
It was great having a job
where you could have a
positive influence on the clientele.
Near the entrance, you'll find UFO catchers
that's usually where
you'll see the most customers...
So that's why there are always
UFO catchers near the entrance.
After that you'll see...
Music games...
and Taiko no Tatsujin
and well, those other games
that are for people
who maybe don't come to arcades as often.
Those games are all located
near the entrance of the arcade.
And then near those games
you'll find large cabinet games,
Horse Racing games or Soccer games...
There's definitely a lot of
these types of games nearby.
Then, as you head higher into the arcade,
you'll find the Medal games
[coin based games]
and finally, on the top floor
you'll find the 'intense' video games.
So I think that maybe,
the people who love games,
head to the higher floors.
Whereas the people who
don't necessarily play as much
will be on the first floor.
If you like gaming, you'll find yourself
heading higher and higher into the arcade.
That's really how these places are designed.
Arcades like Round 1,
for example, are becoming
more and more accessible to casual gamers.
At first I really thought that's
where all arcades were headed
but even the folks at SEGA thought
it would be beneficial to build arcades
that cater to the more casual players
or elderly gamers.
So I think current arcades are working hard
to appeal to a wider audience.
Console games have recently become
extremely well made
and higher in quality.
For arcades...
From this point on,
it will become difficult to build new ones.
This is a tough era
for arcades to survive in.
Well I think that everyone was saying,
with the release of the Wii
the whole point of arcades
has been replaced
and I have to admit that they are right.
For example, if you get
together with your friends
to go bowling, instead you can
just stay home and play Wii.
So I think the original purpose of the arcade
is essentially losing to today's consoles...
If you go to the arcade,
you'll quickly understand,
business has become mostly
about Purikura on the first floor
and the card games on the second floor.
These are the popular areas now.
When the Wii came out
I thought, this is the end of the arcades...
At least from a business stand point.
But I think they've changed
from what they once were.
Arcades are evolving
and I think they'll find their place
in today's gaming landscape.
Well... To be honest...
These small arcades like
Ebi-sen, the one I'm in now,
which are independantly owned and operated
and are filled with mostly
hardcore video games
are facing a difficult time right now
in terms of business and profit.
It is often said that console
gaming technology has increased,
they have become very
advanced gaming systems, whereas
it used to be that only arcades
would have the newest technology,
but now consoles have improved
to such a point that they
have all but replaced arcade gaming...
And there is simply less of a reason
to go to an arcade.
And then there are certain popular games
like Mahjong Fight Club
or other elaborate titles
which are more expensive to play and maintain
and thus harder for indie arcades to own.
Compared to other countries
Japan's arcades are doing well,
but if you compare it to ten years ago
then there has been an obvious decline.
Clearly crane games and
music games will eventually
be what fills the arcades, I think.
Arcades need games that
can only be experienced there
and without some kind of plan for the future
I think things like fighting games
will disappear from arcades.
While I don't know for certain
what the future holds,
obviously consoles have really evolved
and people only come to arcades
to experience something new.
While perhaps one key factor
is the social climate,
it's more about the desire and
excitement to try something new...
With the unpredictable future of technology
where something might come out
that re-invigorates arcades...
Without something of that nature,
little by little, we'll see
the arcade business decline.
While it's true that
some arcades are struggling,
and while...
Some arcades are struggling,
we aren't just giving up.
We're looking for ways
to attract new customers
and keep our current clientele
coming back for more.
Everyday we're looking at new strategies
to improve our business.
A new category of gaming,
which combined card games
and video games was born.
Any time a new popular
style of game is released,
especially with this type
of synergy of genres,
it creates an opportunity
to top our sales goals.
Our numbers...
Or rather our various revenue goals,
are obviously a large part of our business,
but I don't think that's very interesting.
Rather than focusing on numbers
we want to increase traffic
to our arcades with
fun and exciting games...
And help foster the love of
arcade culture among Japanese people.
This is the ultimate goal for Taito,
that we must pursue to
continue growing as a company.
With all of this in mind
we are putting all our efforts
into expanding gaming culture
and will do our best to continue
to push the boundaries of arcades.
Japanese, you know...
Japanese anime and manga etc...
Is really popular among foreigners.
Arcade culture on the other hand,
hasn't caught on yet.
I really feel like gaming
is a unique sub-culture...
Please, come experience it for yourself.
A rich... A rich experience
that shouldn't lose
to anime or other Japanese sub-cultures.
Wouldn't that be great?
Playing games at home by yourself,
just isn't the same.
Arcades allow you a glimpse
of something bigger.
I implore you to come and see for yourself.
Evo is definitely the tournament
that I practice the most for...
The tournament that I
want to win the most,
it's the one that creates
the biggest spectacle.
It's the most fun.
It's my favorite tournament.